March 13th, 2013 at 11:48am
BMW is beating Audi as the number one luxury automaker in the world and now it just won another battle with its German rival. Mitsubishi saw one of the largest gains in the American market last month. Hyundai announced that it will sell its hydrogen-fuel-cell electric vehicle, called the ix35, in the U.S. All that and more, plus we get up close and personal with Mazda’s first diesel race car.
Hello and welcome to a brand new episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Wednesday, March 13th, 2013. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John who’s out sick today. Let’s get to today’s stories.
BMW HIRES FORMER AUDI SALES CHIEF
BMW is beating Audi as the number one luxury automaker in the world and now it just won another battle with its German rival. According to Bloomberg, BMW just hired Audi’s former sales and marketing chief, Peter Schwarzenbauer. His position isn’t official yet but he will report directly to BMW’s CEO, Norbert Reithofer. Schwarzenbauer left Audi late last year as part of a shake-up of Volkswagen management.
AUDI EXPANDS U.S. DIESEL LINE-UP
And speaking of Audi, the company announced it will expand its diesel presence in the U.S. even further. Last year the company announced it will offer diesels in the A8, A7, A6 and Q5 and now Audi says that the next-generation A4 will be available with a 2.0 liter TDI diesel in the American market when it hits showrooms in 2014.
A3 SEDAN TO DEBUT IN SHANGHAI
The German luxury maker also announced it will unveil the A3 sedan at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Reuters reports the small sedan will launch in the U.S. next year and is expected to cost around $30,000.
MITSUBISHI GAINS IN U.S.
Mitsubishi saw one of the largest gains in the American market last month. Sales were up 33 percent from a year ago, while the overall market was only up 8 percent. Mitsubishi only sells four models in the U.S.: the Lancer, the Outlander and Outlander Sport, and the little electric i. But to put it in context, all their sales put together are about the same as how many Mustangs Ford sells every month. That’s not a lot of sales. Even so, unlike Suzuki, Mitsubishi says it is not going to abandon the American market, and they must be mighty pleased that they posted such a dramatic increase in sales.
HYUNDAI’S HFCEV, THE ix35
Hyundai announced that it will sell its hydrogen-fuel-cell electric vehicle, called the ix35, in the U.S. It is based on the company’s Tucson CUV platform, it will generate 134 horsepower and has a range of 370 miles. I think it will be interesting to see if Hyundai will sell many units of the ix35. The are not many hydrogen refueling stations in the U.S., which may have been the downfall of Honda’s FCX Clarity that debuted in 2008. WardsAuto reports Honda has only sold 40 FCX Clarity’s.
EQUUS GETS A FACELIFT
In other Hyundai news, the company released a computer-generated video of its redesigned Equus luxury sedan. The 2014 model will now include LED headlights and taillights, a 9.2-inch center mounted screen and Hyundai has dumped the analog gauges in favor of a TFT LCD display. The Equus is powered by the same 3.8 Liter V6 or the optional 5.0 Liter V8. I drove the current V8 version and was very impressed by its performance and overall driving behavior. I just hope that hood ornament on the new model does not make it to the production version, it just seems a little too over the top for my tastes. Look for the 2014 Equus to make its official debut next month at the New York Auto Show.
Coming up next, a look at Mazda’s first diesel race car.
MAZDA6 DIESEL RACE CAR
(The designer walk-around of the Mazda6 diesel race car can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
Before I go I want to remind you to join us this Thursday night for Autoline After Hours, when our guest will be Klaus Busse, the head of interior design at Chrysler. So join John McElroy and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the business this Thursday at 6PM Eastern time at our website Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.